Republic of Vanuatu fisheries resource profiles / prepared by Lui A.J. Bell and Moses J. Amos
Island and Ocean Ecosystems
The Republic of Vanuatu consists of over eighty mountainous islands, mostly of volcanic and coralline origin, extending over an area of over 12.200 sq. km. Of this total area. 5,500 sq. km is considered arable land. The area of inner reefs and lagoons is approximately 448 sq. km. with mangroves covering an area of 25 sq. km. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers an area of 680,000 sq. km. but resolution on the sovereignty7 over Matthew and Hunter Islands (EEZ of about 190,000 sq. km.) would have a significant impact. The projected population in 1991 was 165,260 while that in 1989 was 142,630. The intercensal population growth rate between 1979 and 1988 was 2.4 percent. The Fisheries Department is the sole agency responsible for the control (regulation), development and management of the fisheries resources within Vanuatu. However, consideration of the impacts from developments on the environment is the responsibility of the Environment Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources. There is a possible overlap of responsibilities between the two agencies in certain areas like assessment work and conservation of species.